House For Six


How To Clean Upholstery, Also Known As How To Get The Funk Out Of Thrifted Furniture

Deme Crinion22 Comments
I've been on the prowl for the perfect nursery chair for months. Visions of heavenly white upholstered gliders have been rocking their way through my mind.  But it turns out those bad boys carry quite the hefty price tag.  *ca-ching* I know they can be worthy investments, but it just wasn't in the cards for us right now.

I've been trying to hold myself to some basic guidelines when it comes to bringing new furniture into the house.  We're aiming to save for quality pieces we love that can stand the test of time (so we're not replacing things as often), but they also need to have an aspect of versatility.  If I come across an item and can quickly think of 2-3 places it could grace the house with its awesomeness, I know it's a winner.

So, I revisited the glide/rock function.  Was it really necessary?  We need a place to feed the baby and snuggle up for a story.  I've been nursing in a stationary chair thus far with no issues, and it might be easier to work a regular chair into the rest of our living space down the line.

And with the the glide/rock feature no longer a requirement, a whole new set of possibilities were opened.  I've been eying many a side chair, but couldn't land on the right style/price point marriage.

So, I started looking second hand.  Craigslist, garage sales,etc.  And last week I hit the jackpot.  I snagged this beauty from an estate sale.....good condition, great lines, tufted back, cushioned armrests, roomy, comfy, and subtle sweet details like the engraved florals on the trim.
How to clean upholstered furniture
When I picked up the chair, the home didn't have any offensive odors (nor did the chair) and was smoke free, but I did notice a bowl of cat food and some fur on the lower part of the upholstery.  Since this gal is going in the baby's room and a few of us have cat allergies, I knew she needed a good cleaning before we brought her inside.

If you google "how to clean upholstery", you'll be met with a slew of articles.  I read though a few and ended up combining several tips and adding few of our own.  The good news?  It's super easy.  So, forgive the phone pics here and let's get started!
How to clean upholstered furniture

How to clean upholstered furniture
Grab your upholstery attachment and give the piece a thorough vacuum.  Be sure to remove all the cushions and use the narrow attachment for all the nooks and crannies.

To catch any rogue hairs and to really get the underside of the chair, I also went over the whole thing with a lint roller after the vacuum.
How to clean upholstered furniture

Next, go to your panty and grab a box of baking soda.
How to clean upholstered furniture

 How to clean upholstered furniture
Dust the entire piece as best you can and let sit for 30 min to 1 hour.  I ran some errands so this actually sat for the whole morning.

How to clean upholstered furniture

Then it's time for your witches' brew.
How to clean upholstered furniture
The articles I read had varying ratios but a 4:1 or 8:1 ratio of water to soap should work great.  You can even add a bit of vinegar to the mix if your piece has stains or strong odors.

Now, grab your hand mixer.
How to clean upholstered furniture
 A wisk would work too but you'll need to mix a little longer and prepare for wrist crampage.

 Then, employ your minions...
How to clean upholstered furniture
 You want to grab just the bubbles and avoid any liquid at the bottom of the bowl.  We used our hands to scoop/rub since the chair was not that dirty, but you could also use a sponge.

After we rubbed the chair down in the foamy bubbles, I wiped the whole thing with a wet rag.  I rinsed it out and went over it a second time to get any lingering soap and dirt.

I left it in the garage to dry and then put the cushion back in place.  So fresh and so clean!  I would have brought the chair in as soon as it dried, but that trim is getting a paint job.  I'm using a less than comfortable chair in Liv's room right now, in which I have to contort my body to feed her, so I can wait to get this chair up there!

Has anyone else tried their hand at this or managed to bring a dingy piece back to life? Tell us your tales!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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All Grown Up

Deme Crinion4 Comments
Not my  I've been making my bed every day for the past week!  I know.  Send me a medal or a congratulatory bouquet of roses.  Wait, make that tulips.

In the past I've touted the importance of creating a haven amidst the chaos in your home...and how your own bedroom shouldn't be bumped to the very bottom of your "make home" list...and then I promptly ignored all that great advice in our last home.  In fact, we had just started on our master bedroom when we got the news that our family was headed to Ohio. 

I told myself that I would not let our bedroom become a dumping ground this time around.  No, Siree.  Not one little random moving box. Nope.

Well...just be glad I didn't grab a before pic.  "Dumping ground" would be an understatement for our master bedroom.

Even though I'm in the midst of spring cleaning, this particular purge was not a planned out event.  In fact, I went into our room with the intent to clean the bathroom mirror.  Then something took over.  Maybe it was the boxes I had to dodge just to get in the bathroom or maybe it was the random white board propped against the even more random conglomeration of benches (4 to be exact).  But I couldn't take it any longer. 

I emptied the whole room of "extras", dusted, vacuumed, put things back together, and distributed all those extras to their rightful homes. I took me about 2 hours from start to finish, but it felt amazing....
We clearly have done about zero in the way of design or decorating in here, but there is just something so calming about a space that can breath...

And being able to walk to your bed or to the bathroom on a path that is wider than 12 inches...

My grandmother's settee also landed in here when I started working on my office (update on that this week - promise, promise!!).  And I like it. 
I still haven't decided on a fabric to reupholster it, but I think I'll wait until we have a better idea of what we want to do in here. 

It felt so good to have this space cleared out and clean that I've been motivated to make the bed everyday. I'm not a stickler for that type of thing, but in a house with a lot of undone, a made bed is serenity.

And even though this room is far from "done" or even a reflection of our personal tastes, it's my favorite room to be in right now.  Also.  I feel the need to immediately smooth out any wrinkles on the bed anytime a little person jumps sits on it.  I'm sure that OCD will pass, but for now I'm in "preserve the goodness as long as possible" mode. 

Are you a make your bed every day person or a why bother type?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!

Our Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Deme Crinion4 Comments
That post title makes it sound like we have one.  We don't.  But we need one, so I made one.  And I'm hoping that it's the one.  Know what I mean? 

Part of my Lenten commitment this year is to better serve our family.  We're blessed to be able to have one parent home full-time, and since that happens to be me, it's kind of sad how much I have avoided the everyday cleaning tasks.

James is such a huge help and pulls more than his fair share in the household chore arena.  If he were the one home, I know that he would have this whole maintain-a-decent-house-thing knocked out of the park.  Honestly, it's just something I don't like to do.  Which is odd because I love having a clean house. Go figure.

I think the main reason I don't like doing it is because when the house is out of control or I have major piles to deal with, the task of getting it back in order is so overwhelming it's hard to even start.  I've tried making a cleaning plan before and it was a big fat flop....because I did what I always do - get super motivated to do something, set way too lofty goals that I can never sustain, poop out, and quit.

So, I tried to approach this with simple, easy, and doable in mind.  I've always been inspired by Becky's post on keeping a house clean in just 15-20 min a day.  Now, her cleaning approach works for an already clean house.  Uhhh, not there yet.

BUT. Tis the season for spring cleaning and I thought this year I would use our new weekly cleaning chart to guide us through our spring cleaning routine.  I'll need to spend more time on each task up front since we're not in maintenance mode yet, but hopefully after that, I should be able to knock out each of these in just 15-30min a day, depending on the task.

Here's how the chores fell (with a download for you too!  The Word file can be edited)...

(Download the PDF here and the Word version here)

Mondays - I thought I would start off the week with an easy one: dusting. This just involves going around the entire house with a Swifter duster, wiping down every surface.  This is a great one for the kids to help with, just watch the fragiles! 

Tuesday -  We'll bust out the vacuum and hit all the carpets and area rugs (although there's plenty of little messes to vacuum up throughout the week).  Every once in awhile I'll do the vents, window sills, etc. too.

Wednesday - We have two full bathrooms upstairs.  They'll get a full wipe down, the toilets and showers will get scrubbed, and the glass will be cleaned. 

Thursday - One of my least favorites - mop/clean the hard floors in the kitchen and living areas. Anyone have suggestions on keeping it simple and easy?  Swifter Wet Jet?  Steam cleaner? Help!

Friday - This is laundry day.  We've been trying to figure out the best way to crack the laundry nut for awhile.  Here's what I know.....laundry and I are not friends.  And when we do a load a day, I feel like there is constantly laundry out on the couch needing to be folded or waiting to be put away.  So, doing all our clothes once a week, seems to work best for my sanity and it yeilds the best odds of the clothes actually making it back up to their drawers.  I also didn't like having the laundry waiting for me on the weekends, so knocking it out on Fridays means we go into the weekend and following work/school week set up for success.

There's also a half bath right next to the laundry room that I'll wipe down and give a quick cleaning on those laundry days.

Weekends - One of the main reasons I wanted to do this weekly cleaning sheet is because I didn't like dedicating our entire weekend to chores.  Especially, once the warm weather hits and we have yard work to throw in on top of that.  Taking care of the house during the week, means we have the weekends free to take care of any smaller, less frequent chores and to just have fun!

Daily Tasks:

Beds and toy pickup - This is something that I need to work on with the kids.  Picking up smaller messes as we go along and before we move onto something else is just a good habit for all of us.  And it helps to avoid those overwhelming messes or the frustration that comes with returning to a crazy house. Or that awkward moment your neighbor unexpectedly knocks on your door.

After dinner kitchen clean up -  We've gotten into the habit of cleaning up the kitchen right after dinner lately and it's been great. We clear the table, load up the dish washer, hand wash any big stuff (and dry/put it away) and wipe down the counters before we move on to family time.  This only takes about 15 min and it's so nice to have the kitchen done and ready for the morning.  Because the LAST thing I want to do after the kids go to bed is clean the kitchen.  On days that happens, I usually leave it for the morning...which is not how I love to start the day.

10 min power pickup - We have a split level home, so once we move upstairs to get the kids ready for bed, that's it.  They're not coming back down.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who's kids can switch into nutso mode right before bed.  That's usually when they're overtired and we've missed the calmy-go-upstairs window.  And when that does happen, getting them to stay on task and clean up is a major, drawn out event.  We usually just chuck it up as a loss and attempt to get them upstairs, leaving the wreckage behind. 

So, having the whole family pitch in to do a quick 10 min power pickup about 30 min before we're ready to head upstairs should help to ease the transition to bedtime and leave the house mostly picked up for the next day.


I'm planning to jump on these tasks as soon as I get home from school drop off.  The boys are with me M/W/F and we usually get back to the house just before 9am.   It's so easy for the day to get away from me, so I think making this our very first priority will start the day off on a good note.  It won't take long and doing something productive right off the bat, usually puts me in a mood to do more productive things.  Here's hoping anyway!

For the next couple weeks my focus is going to be on purging and spring cleaning the house.  We're mostly unpacked and have been in the house long enough now to know what things we will and won't use here.  We got through that first phase of unpacking where we set things up, and got things to the right rooms.  Now it's time to deal with all the stuff that we didn't have a place or use for. 

I'm not sure if we'll have a garage sale in the spring or just sell a few things on Craigslist and donate the rest.  For now, I'm going to move everything to be sold/donated to the garage, so that it's not taking up space and adding more clutter to the house.  I'm so ready to have the house in a state where we can actually maintain it! 

Over the years we've tried everything from rigid scheduling to totally flying by the seat of our pants.  We've learned that our kids do best (from babies to now) with a routine.  But I've also learned that we just won't stick to a completely strict schedule.  With kids come a lot of variables.  Some days we'll be able to get to everything and some days we won't.  I'm learning to create schedules that are more realistic and leave margin for those off days.  Is it wrong to say I'm lowering my standards?

Perfection and a spotless house are certainly not the goal here...but we do want to take better care of our home.  In the end, it will give us more time to spend with each other and help us better enjoy the time we're in it. 

How do you approach keeping your house clean?  Or getting it clean? Do you have any tricks for an easy and doable routine?  If you have kids, how do you get them involved?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!

The Home Management Binder That Could

Deme Crinion6 Comments
OK.  This is embarrassing...but I'll tell you.  Because friends can share their embarrassing moments with each other, right?

So, it seemed like last year everyone was getting their lives together with the ever popular Home Management Binder.  I "oohed" over Toni's, and "aahed" over Jen's.   A one-stop-spot for managing all things home/work/kids/life related?  Oh yes. I was certain this would save me countless grays scrambling to find important information.  Yes, I'm 34 and the gray hairs are beginning their infiltration.

But back to binders.  I have downloaded some amazing free printables over the past year, and even created some of my own to include in this magical binder that would make my life a thousand times easier.  You would think, as chaotic as our home and lives have been this year that I would have wasted no time in putting that bad boy together. 

Oh I planned to...I even hosted a "get organized" night for our mom's group with copies of all the printables for everyone to whip up a binder on the spot.  Everyone but the hostess.  Because hostessing is busy business you know - sampling baked goods, sipping on wine....

So, there the printables and random pieces of paper with important info sat.  In a pile. For a year.

I don't know if it was the start of the school year or just the urge to push some of the unnecessary stress out of our lives, but I finally have myself an assembled Home Management Binder!  With the papers actually hole punched and clipped in!   I know!! 

It really only took me one weekend to get it assembled and that's because little ones and a hole punch are not a recipe for anything good.  I'm sure you could whip one up in a distraction free hour or two.

Let's take a look inside, shall we?
(I either downloaded or purchased most of Jen's Home Management Binder printables.  They can all be found in her amazing Etsy shop and I use (IHeart) to reference them below)

On the inside cover we have our First Aid/CPR quick reference cards in the front binder pocket.  On the other side is a 3-hole pouch that holds our checkbook, giving envelopes, an some writing utensils.

 Next is our colorful personalized cover page courtesy of Jen...

Immediately after that is our 2013 calendar.  We keep all our event specific schedules in their respective tabs, but all the dates go into this one master calendar.  Then we display one month at a time on our large chalkboard family calendar

Just behind the calendar, I have another IHeart print out for random blog post ideas that pop into my head.  I keep the majority of my blogging tools in my office, so this is super handy for jotting down a quick idea.

Now for the tabs!  I divided things up by using some of the more common categories and then added a few that were specific to our family.  I placed the most frequently accessed ones in the top set of five.

This tab has all of our kids' school calendars, schedules, sign-ups, and rosters specific to their classrooms. At first I tried to break up this info among different tabs (i.e. one tab for all our calendars, one for contacts, etc), but ultimately found that it was better to keep everything for one category together.

Another IHeart printable helps us keep all of our phone/addressess/websites/policy #s/etc. for insurance, medical, banking, and local contacts.  You can find it here.
Personalized Important Household Information Printable

Here we keep a copy of our base monthly budget, the IHeart Financial Checklist for tracking bills, my 30-Piece Wardbrobe Shopping Checklist, and a gift giving planning sheet for the holidays.

Here we have a few copies of our Weekly Menu Planning sheets, our Grocery Comparison sheets, and some of our previous monthly menus.

I'm trying to follow this easy 15 minutes A Day Cleaning Schedule by Organizing Made Fun.  Trying I tell ya.  In this section we also keep the IHeart Home Maintenance Checklist.

IHeart to the rescue again....our Projects tab holds a running to-do list for around the house and a project budget sheet when it's time to plan for those larger home projects.
Personalized Home "To Do" List Printable

Here we keep all of our schedules, rosters, and contact info for the different ministries we're involved with.

This tab is dedicated to those times we're away from the house....whether it's leaving for a vacation or simply out for a date night while a babysitter hangs with the kids.  We keep an info sheet for babysitters here along with our kids packing list.

This tab is for all things cars. An IHeart auto maintenance log and our winterize the car checklist.

This final tab is all about those special days....and making sure I don't forget them!  We have our Days to Celebrate printable along with our Birthday and Christmas gift trackers (that help make sure we aren't giving the same gift twice and help us remember those gifts that are especially great for certain ages).
 All those can be found under our Free Printables tab.

I'm sure we'll add to this as we go along, but now that it's finally assembled I'm not sure what I did without it.  Well, yes I do know.  A whole lot of searching through piles of paper and asking people to hold on.  Better late than never, right? 

Do you have a Home Management Binder or some sort of system that helps you keep all that important info in one place?  What sorts of things did you include in yours?  What's been the most helpful part of that system for you?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to keep in touch!